Toxic or Not Image Map

Bacteria are blamed for causing a lot of different diseases.  Not all bacteria are bad however.  Listed below are some of the more common bacteria that cause illness and how to avoid them.

Name
Symptoms
Prevention
Salmonella
(OK, so it's not really "Sam and Ella")
May experience mild or severe diarrhea, fever, and occasionally vomiting.  Blood stream infections can be serious to the very young or to the elderly. Avoid contaminating food with knives, cutting boards or utensils which have been in contact with raw meat, poultry, eggs, fish or dairy products.  Some fruits and vegetables may also contain salmonella.
Shigella Occurs mostly in summer or early fall as single cases or outbreaks.  Recognized more often in young children.   Experiences mild or severe diarrhea, often with fever and traces of blood or mucous in the stool.   Spread by eating or drinking contaminated food or water or by direct contact with infected person. 
Campylobacter Occurs mostly in summer months as single cases or outbreaks.  May cause mild or severe diarrhea, often with fever and traces of blood in the stool. Spread by eating or drinking contaminated food or water, or occasionally by direct contact with infected  people or animals.
Escherichia coli (E. Coli) Causes toxins that can cause diarrhea.  Bacteria itself is mostly harmless.  Severe diarrhea and abdominal cramps can occur with blood seen in the stool. Acquired by eating food containing the bacteria.  Avoid eating meat that is rare or inadequately cooked.  Person to person transmission can occur if people do not wash their hands after using the toilet.
Vibrio cholera Affects the intestinal tract.  Mild to severe diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration can occur.  Spread by eating or drinking food or water contaminated by the fecal waste of an infected person. 
Yersenia enterocolitica Usually occurs as a single isolated event.  Occasional outbreak may occur due to common exposure.   Mild or severe diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps.  Sometimes infection may mimic appendicitis.     Spread by eating or drinking contaminated food or water or by direct contact with an infected person or animal. 
Listeria Generally infect specific locations within the human body, but may infect many different sites as well.  Symptoms vary depending on where in the body parts.  In most cases, Listeria infection causes fever and influenza. Spread by several different methods.  Ingestion of unpasteurized milk and contaminated vegetables.  Transmitted from mother to fetus in- utero or directly to the fetus at the time of birth.  Direct contact on the hands or arms, or sexual contact can also spread the bacteria.
Giardia lamblia Occurs more often in institutional settings such as day care centers.  May experience severe diarrhea, and fever is rarely present.  Chronic diarrhea with significant weight loss occasionally.  Good hand washing practices is a way to prevent the bacterial disease.   Beaver may be the potential source of Giardian lakes and rivers.  
Staphylococcus aureus Food poisoning.  Nausea, vomiting,  diarrhea, retching, abdominal cramping, and prostration are the most common symptoms.  Headache, muscle cramping, and transient changes in blood pressure and pulse rate may occur in more severe cases. It is contained in many food or food equipment that are not kept hot enough (60 C or above) or cold enough (7.2 C or below).  Also, food handlers are usually the main source of contamination.  The foods that are usually contaminated are meat and dairy products.
Bacillus cereus There are two types of illness:  diarrhea type and the vomiting type.  Diarrhea type:  basic symptoms are watery diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and pain occurs 6-15 hours after consumption of contaminated food.  Emetic type:  nausea and vomiting with abdominal cramps or diarrhea occasionally.   Avoid food mixtures such as sauces, pudding, soups, casseroles, pastries, and salads.  The diarrhea type generally associated with meats, milk, and vegetables.  The vomiting type generally associates with rice products.
Clostridium perfringens Diarrhea and gas pains which begin between 6 and 24 hours ingestion and last approximately 24 hours. Caused frequently by poor temperature control.  Also cause by small numbers of the organism that are usually present in foods.
Clostridium botulinum Produce symptoms that affect the nervous system of an infant.   Other symptoms include blurred or double vision, general weakness, poor reflexes, difficulty swallowing and sometimes death.  Symptoms usually appear 12-36 hours after ingestion, but may take up to several days.  Avoid improperly processed canned foods that causes toxin formed in food.

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